Thinking about the Trumpian decision last week to drop an enormous bomb on one of the world’s poorest country I can’t help but flash back to that now infamous photo op of the leader of the free world at the wheel of mammoth tractor-trailer. What that picture indelibly captured was the extent to which we are being governed by an id-controlled man-child. What that bomb made clear is how horrifying, how deadly, how dangerous, that is on a global stage.
Let’s recap: A GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb – nicknamed the ‘Mother of All Bombs’ (MOAB) – was dropped at 7 p.m. local time Thursday, April 13 in Afghanistan. That is all that we know for sure, we the taxpayers who spent upwards of $300 million to develop this monstrosity, the largest non-nuclear bomb in arsenal.
The rest, well we don’t know much at all beyond that the target was supposedly a series of caves and tunnels and that allegedly “a number of Islamic militants” were killed in the attack
Also that Trump claimed it was “a very, very successful mission,” despite the fact that it now seems the bomb used was not actually designed to penetrate bunkers like the ones allegedly targeted.
Donald Trump is a serial liar. But in this case he may not have been blatantly twisting the truth so much as inventing it. Because, according to actual credible sources, fighting on the ground has prevented local authorities from getting to the bombed site to see what happened and who was really killed. So Trump has no idea, in fact, if this expensive, massive destruction was indeed successful in whatever way he defines that term. No one does.
There are, however, a few things we do know for sure. We know that Afghanistan is one of the poorest nations in the world. Its cities are crumbling. Its people are living with infrastructure from a century the West has long ago left behind. Its children are growing up without hope for the future.
You do not have to take my word for it. You can see it in our film, Rethink Afghanistan. Take a look at how people are living. These are the conditions that allow violent extremism to take hold and to flourish. These are the conditions that make us unsafe.
For every multi-million dollar bomb we drop, we become even more unsafe. For each explosion is followed by a thousand whispers into the ears of impressionable children watching the fire and smoke from their villages without clean running water. “See what these monsters do? See why we must wipe them off the face of the earth? See why you must join us?”
Then there is the “collateral damage,” the ugliest of euphemisms that encompasses dead parents, dead cousins, dead lovers and dead friends and dead teachers and dead soccer coaches. If fear and despair does not work in recruiting ISIS fighters, sadness and anger just might.
We don’t know yet who the dead are in this most recent bombing, but we can freely assume that there were innocents among them.
We can also rest assured that they will not be the last to die by incompetence or indifference. While this latest bomb had superlatives of size attached, the reign of terror has been going on practically since Trump took office and began treating deadly drones like Tonka Trucks. Drone strikes are up 43 percent since January 2017. The body count of noncombatants no doubt in line with that figure.
In this latest attack, there is some question as to whether Trump actually knew anything about the mission beforehand. He has not said yes or no. But he has said proudly and emphatically that he trusts military leaders to make decisions. In doing so he has made an overarching decision. He has decided that our problems will be solved with violence, as have the administrations before him, and he is escalating that violence. So it is irrelevant whether he knows the details of this attack or the next or the one after that. He is responsible for them all.
That is terrifying.